I frequently read the CommissionStories newspaper that is published by the International Mission Board, but they also share good news through the Commission Stories website.
Today I am reflecting on the innocent men, women, and child whose lives have been caught in the crossfire of what has been labeled the “deadliest conflict since World War II” where 5.5 million people have been killed over a period of 16 years.
The eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo is a place where “murder, looting, and rape are the norm. The innocent become victims of stray bullets and deliberate atrocities.” The horrors trace back to the Rwanda genocide of 1994, where 1 million people were slaughtered in 100 days.
I have mentioned the book, Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwanda Genocide by Immaculée Ilibagiza. Immaculée is a devote Roman Catholic who taught herself to read the Holy Bible as she hid away in the secret bathroom of a pastor’s home with five other women. In the midst of the holocaust, her entire family was murdered. Her brother was murdered by rebels right outside of her bathroom window. The movie, Hotel Rwanda, also gives glimpses of the atrocities.
This crisis started the slow burn of killings that continue in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo today. The article and testimonies are shared here.
I do not want to hear about these killings. I do not want to read about them. I actually would prefer to pretend that they are not there. Hear no evil. See no evil. Speak no evil. The reality is, however, that these evils are taking place all over the world and it breaks my heart. Makes me cry out, “How long oh Lord?”
I want my heart to be broken for the things that break God’s heart. Exposure to these realities keeps me humble, thankful, and keeps my life in proper prospective. This exposure helps me to see God’s grace in an entirely different way.
Yet, these are stories of hope and forgiveness. Stories of how missionaries risk everything to share the good news that Jesus saves and he makes all things new. These missionaries are sharing God’s light in the midst of a dark world. That commitment is what is required of us, all of us, and it always takes risks.
Let us pray for these missionaries as they continue to share the gospel with rebels through small group Bible stories, that God give the rebels hearts of flesh and not stone, that he provides healing, peace, and joy to the victims.
Why is it important to look outside of “our world” to see God at work in other places?
© Natasha S. Robinson 2011
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